Keystone Resort

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Keystone Resort
River Run Village Fireworks, Keystone, CO.jpg
Location White River National Forest
Summit County, Colorado, United States
Nearest city Keystone, Colorado
Coordinates 39°36′18″N 105°57′15″W / 39.60500°N 105.95417°W / 39.60500; -105.95417
Top elevation 12,408 feet (3,782 m)
Base elevation 9,280 feet (2,830 m)
Skiable area 3148 acres (12.7km²)
Runs 135 total
(19% beginner
32% intermediate
49% advanced/expert)
Longest run Schoolmarm - 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Lift system 20 total (2 gondolas, 11 chair lifts (two high speed six packs, four high speed quads, one fixed grip quad, one triple chairlift, three double chairlifts), seven surface lifts)
Snowfall 230 in/year (5.8 m/year)
Snowmaking 662+ acres
Night skiing 15 trails

Keystone Resort is a ski resort located in Keystone, Colorado, United States. and owned and operated by Vail Resorts. It consists of three mountains – Dercum Mountain, North Peak, the Outback – and five Bowls (Independence, Erickson, Bergman, North and South Bowls) offering skiing at all levels. The three mountains are connected by a series of ski lifts and gondolas. Keystone offers night skiing on Dercum Mountain during the Thanksgiving holiday and mid-December through March. The night skiing schedule changes every year so check their website for hours of operation [1]

Keystone is known also for its five-acre resurfaced skating lake, sleigh rides and several Zagat-rated four- and five-star restaurants. There are over 3,000 condos in Keystone, all within a short walk or free shuttle ride to one of the two base areas called River Run (newest) and Mountain House (Original, less crowded).[citation needed]

In summer, Keystone provides lift access for mountain biking, biking parks, and hundreds of miles of single-track mountain biking.


Keystone opened on November 21, 1970 led by Max Dercum and a group of investors that included Bill Bergman and Ralston Purina Company.[2] The resort is now owned and operated by Vail Resorts which bought the resort in 1997.

Resort statistics[edit]


  • Base: 9,280 feet (2,830 m)
  • Summit: 12,408 feet (3,782 m)
  • Vertical Rise: 3,128 feet (953 m)


  • Skiable Area: 3,148 acres (12.74 km2)
  • Trails: 135 total (19% beginner, 32% intermediate, 49% advanced/expert)
    • Bowls: Independence, Bergman, Erickson, North, South, Puma, Lower Packsaddle.
  • Longest Run: Schoolmarm - 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
  • Average Annual Snowfall: 230 inches (580 cm)
  • Terrain Parks:
    • The A51 Terrain Park, a section of the resort with various features including for trick performance. The terrain park is the largest in Colorado to be lit at night.
    • 51 rails and funboxes.

Slope Aspects[edit]

  • North: 47%[3]
  • East: 13%
  • West: 30%
  • South: 10%


  • 20 total
    • 2 gondolas, River Run and Outpost
    • 2 high-speed six person chair lifts, Montezuma Express, Ruby Express
    • 4 high-speed quad chair lifts, Summit Express, Peru Express, Santiago Express, Outback Express
    • 1 quad chair lift, Wayback
    • 1 triple chair lift, Ranger
    • 3 double chair lifts, A-51, Argentine, and Discovery
    • 7 surface lifts, Midway Carpet, Summit Carpet, Double Barrel Carpet 1, Double Barrel Carpet 2, Discovery Carpet, Ski School Carpet, Tubing Tow

Terrain park[edit]

Keystone Resort features the "A51 Terrain Park" on Dercum Mountain, which has been noted as one of the more progressive terrain parks in the region.[4]

Summer activities[edit]

During the summer, visitors to Keystone resort often participate in hiking, horseback riding, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking. Keystone resort is also home to two 18-hole championship golf courses.

Forest service[edit]

Keystone ski area operates on National Forest System lands under special use permit to the Forest Service. The 30-year special use permit assigns to the permit holder only a portion of the bundle of rights normally associated with real estate ownership. For the privilege of using federal lands the ski area pays an annual fee of about one dollar per skier visitor to the U.S. Treasury. Twenty-five percent of those fees are returned to Summit County, Colorado, for roads and schools. The Forest Service approves all master development plan revisions, environmental impact statements, summer and winter operations plans, and construction plans prior to opening. The 1984 Land and Resource Management Plan and 2002 Revision, authored by Erik Martin, Program Manager for Ski Area Administration (1972–2003), WRNF, established the final expanded boundary perimeter for Keystone Resort, including eventual expansion of developed skiing onto Independence Mountain. The 2002 Forest Plan Revision suggested an aerial transportation corridor and south portal be constructed in the Swan Valley to provide direct access between Keystone ski area and the Town of Breckenridge to improve traffic safety, reduce vehicle congestion, decrease dust and hydrocarbon emissions, and increase skier convenience. Independence Mountain was an olympic finalist and nearly selected for the signature alpine skiing downhill event for the ill-fated '76 Winter Olympic Games initially awarded to Denver, USA. Lands owned by the Denver Water Board at the base of Independence Mountain were given serious consideration by the Forest Service as an alternative staging area for Keystone ski area to reduce vehicle and skier congestion at the existing portals, and as an alternative ski lift connection and new portal serving the backside of Arapahoe Basin ski area. Speculation about conflicts in the Snake River Valley with the lynx reintroduction program stifled further study and land allocation. Prior to formal expansion of Keystone ski area onto Independence Mountain this terrain was under permit by multiple guide and outfitters in the 1970s and 80s using snowcats and helicopters for alpine skiing.

Teller lift accident (1985)[edit]

The Teller Lift was a Yan 1000 model triple chair installed in 1984 by Lift Engineering, when Keystone expanded into the North Peak. The following year the upper bullwheel disconnected from the main gearbox shaft. Faulty welding was blamed.[5] Two people were killed and 47 injured. The lift was rebuilt by Yan as the Ruby lift, free of charge. Settlements between Yan and injured skiers topped over seven million dollars.

External links[edit]